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Top tips for keeping your Digital projects on track over the summer holidays

Somehow, it’s half-way through July already and the summer holidays are fast approaching. With team members, stakeholders and clients coming and going over the period, it can be hard to maintain momentum and keep your digital projects running smoothly. To avoid unnecessary delays and stressful emergencies, here are some top tips to keep your digital projects on track.

Check your schedules, and communicate

Carefully look over your schedules well in advance to see if there is anything important flagged up over the summer period. Are there any specific tasks or deliverables due when you or other team members are away from the office? Liaise with your clients, team members and other stakeholders so that you are all aware of each others’ absences and how these may affect the project schedules. Communication is key, and do it as early as possible so that there is more leeway to make contingency plans for all involved. Ensure your clients have alternative contacts when team members are unavailable.

Think about hiring temporary cover

If you have overlapping absences of team members, or find that key deadlines need to be met over the period and can’t be rescheduled, think about hiring temporary project management cover. Having a professional contract PM can keep your projects running smoothly with minimal disruption. This makes great business sense as it presents an image of professional continuity to clients and stakeholders, stops other team members from being overloaded, and prevents unnecessary holiday stress and interruptions for the project managers who are away. Planning and forecasting on resource requirement in advance of an immediate need ensures a calm, steady ship and no major project crises!

Plan a smooth handover

Whether you have hired professional PM cover or are relying on someone in-house, you will need to conduct handovers of projects before the time comes to go away. If you have professional cover, you can expect them to manage the whole project during your absence and they will obviously plan in proper time for a thorough handover of all information as part of the service. If a colleague is looking after your work, you’ll most probably have less time to walk them through your projects, but make sure they are familiar with all the major deadlines and deliverables. Warn them of any risks and advise of your opinion on decisions that might need to be taken. Give them all stakeholder contact information, and alternative contacts for crisis management. Create a document with all the relevant information and make sure you meet with them personally to go through it.

Set up your out of office messages

Automate your out of office messages for when you away – you can customise this for internal and external emails, and don’t forget your voicemail too. Be precise about the dates you are unavailable and list contacts for specific urgent project queries. If these are in-house staff, make sure you check with them so that they know they might be contacted in your absence.

Conduct a hand back of projects

Make sure you schedule in a time to go over your projects with your cover on your return. You will have a lot of messages and work to pick up and a hand back will put all this information in context. It’s important to look professional to clients and stakeholders so you need to be fully up to speed again when you take over the reins. If you have hired a contract PM, a comprehensive hand back will be part of the service.

So, that’s it - relax and enjoy your holidays! Hopefully these tips will help you keep your digital projects on track while you are away. What other preparations do you make to keep abreast of project developments over the holiday period?

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